Everything Is Possible

Bricker, Jen. With Berk, Sheryl. Everything Is Possible: Finding the Faith & Courage to Follow Your Dreams. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2016.

everythingispossible

SUMMARY:
Written as a memoir, read like a journal, Everything Is Possible is Jen Bricker’s story of encouragement, strength, faith and life. Born without legs yet not letting that define her, Jen lives life to the fullest. Explaining that she is like a Polaroid picture that didn’t fully develop, Jen lets nothing defeat her because she always tries. With encouragement from her parents and a strong faith in God, she believes everything happens for a purpose and as a result, everything is possible. Full of personal triumphs, humor, compassion and energy, Everything Is Possible shares more than just a story…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not only well written but so full of vitality, I enjoyed meeting Jen Bricker within the pages of this book. Though her story could have turned out so differently, her outlook, fortitude, faith and perseverance in life make everything possible despite her disability. As an inspiration to so many others, I am glad her story has been shared; I believe God has big plans for her.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Everything Is Possible from Baker Books for my honest review*

Kit Kat & Lucy

DuPont, Lonnie Hull. Kit Kat & Lucy: The Country Cats Who Changed a City Girl’s World. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

kitkatlucy

SUMMARY:
As a memoir of the changes in her life brought on by two cats, Kit Kat and Lucy, author Lonnie Hull DuPont recounts the pieces of her life shaped by cats. Full of humor, compassion, poignancy and memories, Kit Kat & Lucy take the author (and readers) on a heartwarming journey. As an author of several animal stories, she still shares her home and heart with cats.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I was originally drawn to this book by the title and cover which includes two very handsome kitties. Perhaps expecting something a bit different, I did struggle just a little with the mixed, short stories forming the overall larger story. Though well written, in places I had trouble connecting the tales, which in turn caused some dissonance for me. Liking the healing and helping nature of the cats for the author; however, I did appreciate her willingness to share her story.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Kit Kat & Lucy from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Berenstain Bears’ Book of Prayers

Berenstain, Mike. The Berenstain Bears’ Book of Prayers. Nashville, TN: Worthy Kids/ Ideals. 2016.

berenstainbearbookofprayers

SUMMARY:
In true classic Berenstain Bear style, the newest book to join the BB collection, The Berenstain Bears’ Book of Prayers, is full of prayers perfect for sharing. With prayer topics including family, pets, friends, animals, nature, food, emotions, safety, health and plenty more, this softly padded board book is even more appealing with bright colorful pictures. Author Mike Berenstain continues the beloved tradition seamlessly…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Absolutely adorable! Filled with pages of easy to recite prayers with important messages, this sturdy book contains three to four prayers per page spread and of course, they rhyme in the most charming ways! Coupled with the Berenstain Bear family characters, this sweet little book would be great in a child’s library, Sunday school room, church bag or most anywhere. I really like the varying subjects of the prayers as well as the ease with which they can be repeated and remembered. The “thanks” and “bedtime” prayers were some of my favorite. I look forward to more in the popular BB growing series.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Berenstain Bears’ Book of Prayers from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Radical Beauty

Chopra, M.D., Deepak. Snyder, C.N., Kimberly. Radical Beauty: How to Transform Yourself From the Inside Out. USA: Harmony Books. 2016.

radicalbeauty

SUMMARY:
Defining Radical Beauty as a birthright for everyone, it is achieved when you reach the highest and most authentic potential of your natural true beauty, both inside and outside. Universal yet unique to each, Radical Beauty encompasses internal and external nourishment, sleep, nature, movement and spiritual beauty. Through explanations, recipes, encouragement, and ideas, Radical Beauty begins the transformation journey. With authors Deepak Chopra, M.D. and Kimberly Snyder, C.N. combining their knowledge and expertise, Radical Beauty is achievable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Redefining beauty to include more than the just the perceived outer beauty, I found Radical Beauty to be encouraging and positive in a very uplifting and beautiful way. Celebrating unique and potential beauty, the included information was current, relevant, well-written and necessary. Perfect as a reminder that beauty is not linked to media standards, this book would be wonderful at any age for that personal transformation. Health tips, nourishment ideas, and natural remedies and tools, all complement the basis of finding Radical Beauty. Well done!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Radical Beauty from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Uninvited

TerKeurst, Lisa. Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books. 2016.

uninvited

SUMMARY:
Being rejected is never easy. In her new book, Uninvited, New York Times best-selling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa TerKeurst, shares her own rejection and the joy she has still been able to achieve. With scriptures, quotes, compassion, personal stories and grace, she encourages those rejected by parents, friends, community, situations or life to turn to God. With humor, honesty and sensitivity, Uninvited touches the heartbreak caused by rejection.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though perhaps not exactly what I assumed this book would entail, what I did find inside was well worth the read. With tidbits of advice and tons of encouragement, Lysa TerKeurst empowers and recognizes strength, goodness and mercy for one’s self through leaning on God. With ten truth-points to remember, many relevant quotes, down-to-earth honesty and an engaging style, this devotional book is definitely appropriate for a women’s ministry, Bible study, and personal growth. Though not my favorite of her books, I am glad I read it.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Uninvited from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Socially Confident in 60 Seconds

Pegues, Deborah Smith. Socially Confident in 60 Seconds: Practical Tips For Navigating Any Situation. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers.
2016.

sociallyconfidentin60seconds

SUMMARY:
Making a good impression in various situations is so important to confidence and success in both the personal and business environments. Including cell phone etiquette, common courtesies, houseguest guidelines, meeting protocols, social media and many more, Socially Confident in 60 Seconds provides tips, information, strategies and manners for tackling interviews, business dining, introductions and networking. Speaker, personal empowerment strategist, leadership coach and author Deborah Smith Pegues, willingly shares her knowledge and expertise in a variety of areas.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Impressions, manners, courtesies, and appropriateness are so important yet sometimes lacking. Definitely an easy book to browse, with tips bulleted within each section as well as many situations addressed, this book organizes and highlights some of the most important socially appropriate actions. From church etiquette, to home office image, to funeral etiquette and proper grammar, Socially Confident in 60 Seconds is a wonderful review (or instruction) to help avoid social blunders, rudeness and awkwardness. Great for adults, teenagers and even young ones, the section on cell phone etiquette should be required reading for all.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Socially Confident in 60 Seconds from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Unlocking the Bible

Lasseigne, Jeff. Unlocking the Bible: What It Is, How We Got It, and Why We Trust It. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2016.

unlockthebible

SUMMARY:
Hoping to make the Bible a bit less daunting and a lot more understandable, author and pastor, Jeff Lasseigne, sets out to meet those goals in his book, Unlocking the Bible. Broken into two main parts, Part 1 answers more general questions about the Bible while familiarizing readers with the history, trustworthiness, New and Old Testaments, studying and teaching of the Bible. Part 2 then delves into each book of the Bible, discovering the uniqueness and qualities found within. Easy to follow, interesting to browse, and referenced for use, this useful book couples nicely with the world’s best-selling book, the Bible.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Sometimes not knowing where to begin, other times plagued with unanswered questions, and yet other times of complacency, often leads the Bible to being overlooked and not studied. Leaning on his vast knowledge of the Bible, Jeff Lasseigne helps the Bible to become more user-friendly and understandable. While Part 1 was interesting, Part 2 was where I actually learned some new information about each book. As a compact reference guide, it would work well paired with a Bible and used in a Bible study, given to new believers, or studied in various ministry groups as a learning tool or review option. A copy belongs with each Bible to help unlock it and bring it to life.
RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Unlocking the Bible from Baker Books for my honest review*

Hillsong United : Empires Album

Hillsong United. Hillsong Church T/A Hillsong Music Australia. 2015.

hillsongunitedempires

SUMMARY:
As the newest album from the Australia group Hillsong, this album is packed with music that speaks to the very soul. Quietly reflective yet loudly spoken, the included songs worship God in such a meaningful and beautiful manner. With praise and worship songs, each song touches the heart in different ways with stirring word choices, moving music and soul-reaching messages. Now, this popular Christian contemporary music group shares where it all started and how it all started in a small church town in their new movie, Hillsong-Let Hope Rise, opening in theatres September 16th, 2016. (See the movie trailer here: http://hillsongmovie.com/ ) Leading millions in worship with their songs which are meant to be sung, the movie is sure to touch hearts and souls deeply…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Loving the music of Hillsong, particularly their newest album, especially the song Touch the Sky, I cannot wait to see the movie. Having seen a brief trailer over a year ago, I was thrilled to see my favorite song included in the movie. Beautifully and stirringly sung, the words speak of being closest to God when falling. Treasures, gift of freedom, soul dancing, upward falling, spirit soaring, touching the sky…it all happens when knees hit the ground to become close to God. Knowing every word, I cannot help but sing along!  I know I will definitely be in the theatre this weekend to see it.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

Photographs From The Edge

Wolfe, Art. With Sheppard, Rob. Photographs From The Edge: A Master Photographer’s Insights On Capturing An Extraordinary World. New York, NY: Amphoto Books. 2016.

photogrpshfromtheedge

SUMMARY:
Author, speaker, educator and award winner photographer, Art Wolfe, teams up with author, editor and photographer, Rob Sheppard, to share a book full of stunning photographs, educational and interesting information about each picture, and photo tips on best capturing the image. With gorgeous pictures covering half page, full page and two page spreads, the topics range from wildlife, to landscapes, to people- all full of brilliant color, strength and emotion. Animals, cities, cultures, celebrations and many more grace the pages with an account of each, information about the pictured topic and photo suggestions. An elaborate feast for the eyes with so much more…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not only did I enjoy paging through this book and reading about the surrounding moment of each photograph, I learned quite a bit about each subject. The accompanying photo tips were so user-friendly; rather than lecturing on the camera, lens, film, etc to use, Art Wolfe mentions the angle, level, distance and thought-process to capture a genuine picture. (He suggests watching and anticipating the animal’s actions and behavior; thus, achieving a more intimate photo.) Overall, an excellent book with so many facets that I will keep yet share with others.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

* I received a complimentary copy of Photographs From The Edge from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

The Wedding Shop

Hauck, Rachel. The Wedding Shop. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2016.

theweddingshop

SUMMARY:
Having finished her time with the military, Haley Morgan returns home to Heart’s Bend, Tennessee. While pondering what direction God may want her to take, Haley visits the remains of The Wedding Shop, a former store building which she and her now deceased best friend, Tammy, pinky-swore they would reopen one day. Through perseverance, faith, confusion, promises, discovery and one very special person, Cole Danner, Haley discovers the connection and parallel lives with the former owner, Cora Scott. At the surprising intersection, Haley must make decisions regarding her future, her faith, her family and her heart…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read the previous two novels by author Rachel Hauck, The Wedding Dress and The Wedding Chapel, as well as The Royal Wedding Series, of course, I was going to read this one. With a well written novel, including a creative storyline, a faith-filled story, clean romance, and timeless characters, I enjoyed it as much as expected. Easily read yet with a deeper message, Rachel Hauck reminds us to follow our dreams and trust in God for His will.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Wedding Shop from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*